CALLING ALL "OMEN" FANS...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 05/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This collection is one that all those who love gothic style thrillers will enjoy. It features the nineteen seventy six blockbuster, "The Omen" and all its progeny.THE OMEN - ***** STARSThis is the jewel in this collection. It is a first class, gothic thriller with an outstanding cast, a riveting story line, and a musical score that will make the viewer want to sleep with the lights on! A first rate film, it had audiences riveted to the screen when it was first released and has withstood the test of time, as it is as gripping today, as when it was first released.David Seltzer wrote a terrific screenplay in which an older, affluent, and socially prominent couple, Kathy and Robert Thorn (Lee Remick and Gregory Peck), have a baby, whom they name Damien. The baby turns out to be the Anti-Christ, who ends up causing a lot of trouble. This first class production, which is deftly directed by Richard Donner, is played with straightforward sincerity by its outstanding cast. The casting of Gregory Peck and Lee Remick was pure genius, as their distinguished reputations infused the movie with a believability not thought possible, given the theme of the script. Playing it straight, as a couple caught in a vortex of events over which they have little control, they sweep the viewer along with them. Supported by a fine cast, there are notable performances given by Billie Whitelaw, as the nanny with a mission, David Warner, as the photographer who begins to notice that something odd seems to be going on, and Harvey Stephens, as Damien, whose angelic countenance belies his satanic nature. This is a riveting, subtle film that, with a few well planned, shocking moments, and an effectively creepy musical score that builds suspense to a crescendo, manages to thoroughly engage the viewer. If one is looking for a blood and gore fest, there is really none of that here. Instead, look to be scared out of the seat of your pants by a superb script, wonderful acting, deft direction, and a musical score that will long linger in one's memory. It is little wonder that Jerry Goldsmith, the composer of the original score for The Omen, won an Academy Award for his efforts. DAMIEN: OMEN II - **** STARSThis sequel, released two years after the blockbuster success of "The Omen", is itself a stylish thriller. Featuring an excellent cast, it attempts to continue the momentum of the original. While having some shortcomings, the film, nonetheless, manages to entertain and shock. This is due in large part to its excellent cast and another chilling musical score by Jerry Goldsmith that is used to great effect. This film continues the story begun in "The Omen". The Antichrist, Damien (Jonathan Scott Taylor), is here on earth and is now twelve, a little older and a little wiser to his true nature. Damien is being raised by his uncle, Richard Thorn (William Holden) and his second wife, Ann (Lee Grant). William Holden and Lee Grant are terrific. With straightforward, sincere portrayals, they are the linchpins of this movie. Jonathan Scott Taylor is good as Damien but not particularly charismatic. Well nuanced performances are given by Richard Foxworth and Lance Hendriksen, Damien's earthly sentinels. Old timer Lew Ayres is wonderful as the ethical business man, and Sylvia Sidney is terrific as the aunt who knows that there is something wrong with Damien. Lucas Donat is excellent as Damien's cousin Mark.There is a surprising twist at the end of this film, that is sure to catch the viewer unawares. Still, that is not enough to make this sequel comparable to the original. It lacks the subtlety and deft direction of "The Omen". While the director, Don Taylor, does a competent job of directing this sequel, some of the scenes are heavy handed, giving in to special effects that detract from the film, rather than enhance it. The opening scene is a prime example of gratuitous excess. Less is sometimes more, something that the director, Don Taylor, should remember.OMEN III: THE FINAL CONFLICT - *** STARSThis 1981 film is the second sequel to the oustanding, 1976 gothic thriller "The Omen". The Antichrist, Damien Thorn (Sam Neill), is now all grown up and, having inherited the entire Thorn family mega fortune, is now in the process of fulfilling both his destiny and a biblical prophecy of calamitous proportions. Unfortunately for him, however, his very existence is in jeopardy, as the second coming of Christ appears imminent.Damien is kept busy in this film. As Ambassador to England, as well as spiritual leader to a denizen of devil worshippers, he is the target of an assassination plot by a group of priests led by Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi). Damien keeps busy thwarting his would be assassins, usually by consigning them to a brutal demise. He also carries on a romance that ends badly. Damien is very much aware of who he is and where his destiny lies. This is a relatively well acted film that suffers from a somewhat weak script. Sam Neill is well cast as the grownup Damien, giving a powerful performance. Rossano Brazzi is excellent as Father DeCarlo, the priest determined to end the stranglehold that the Antichrist has on the world. Composer Jerry Goldsmith contributes to the gothic atmosphere of the film with his chillingly creepy, musical score, just as he did in "The Omen" and in the first sequel. Due to its weak script, however, the film pales in comparison to its predecessors. OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING - ** STARS
This 1991 made for television movie was certainly trying to capitalize on the popularity of the 1976 blockbuster film "The Omen" and the two sequels it spawned. It is not really a sequel. It tries to update the original story. This time the Anti-Christ a girl named Delia. Unfortunately, the reality is that this film ends up being nothing like the original film upon which it is based. The plot becomes convoluted and ridiculous. In updating the story line, the writer brought in some new age gobbledegook that goes nowhere. The story, which starts out promisingly enough, degenerates into total absurdity and becomes unbelievable and downright laughable. Unlike the original, which was believable because of the subtlety that was employed through its straightforward presentation and deft direction, this film is anything but. Ham handedly directed and with a poor script with which to work, the actors cast never even had a chance. Consider this film just to be a bonus feature of this collection. I did not include it in the overall rating I awarded this set.Only "The Omen" DVD in the only DVD in the set that can be said to be a loaded DVD with a lot of interesting features. It provides a forty six minute documetary on the making of the film, which is quite interesting, as well as a director's commentary. There is a also an intriguing, six minute short on some of the pitfalls that beset the cast and crew during the filming of the movie. The composer also has a small segment of his own. The DVD for "Damien: Omen II" features a comentary by producer Harvey Bernhard, while the DVD for "Omen III: The Final Conflict" has a commentary by the director Graham Baker. All four DVDs provide clarity of picure and sound, theatrical trailers, and subtitles in English and Spanish."
The Horror Collection par excellence
Patrick Selitrenny | Switzerland a.k.a. Helvetia Felix | 07/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unless you're a Hammer Horror Fan, this is THE Horror Collection you were waiting for.Good acting, mixed with good and chilling stories make these the one to own.This is a TRILOGY. Unfortunately Fox Studios tried to rehash it for TV a fourth time without even coming near to the first and only three original ones. It is divided like an opera in three acts.Remember that the Calibre of cast members in the first three ranges from Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner to William Holden, Lee Grant and finally Sam Neill.A cast who could never be assembled for a TV movie.The first act, "The Omen", is perhaps the best of the trilogy because it introduces us to the Evil one. The protagonists are as shocked and horrified when they learn, step by step as we do, who and what the Evil one is and is planning to do.
From there on we are involved in an intensive investigation and a race against time to save the world from what is to come, if at all possible...The second act, "Damien - Omen II", is the natural evolution of the first one, in which we follow the growth in strength and power of Lucifer (or Satan if you prefer, although his name is never openly pronounced in all three movies). The interesting part is when the Evil one gets confirmation of who He really is and suddenly has a "panic attack" followed by sheer despair!Act three, "Omen III - The Final Conflict", is the Apotheosis of the Trilogy in which Damien is at the top of the world, literally. He is finally ready to take possession of his Kingdom on Earth. People are ready, conditions are ready and it seems there's nothing able to stop him. Nothing, except...Less gory than the Exorcist, The Omen Trilogy still has vicious and very graphic death scenes. The beauty of them is that there is no direct murder involved, at least not in the first two. They all happen by accident and very conveniently...The Horror doesn't come in the form of monsters or monstruous beings, but is brought to us by angelic beings and "natural" coincidences, which make this even more controversial and eerie than any other Horror movie ever made.Also consider the haunting Evil Messianic Chants for Choir and Full Symphonic Orchestra composed by Jerry Goldsmith for all three movies. They all are masterpieces in musical composition and if the movies won't scare you, then the music will.Everything is well balanced. The acting, the stories, the effects and the music, they all promise you a true ride through Hell on Earth.Definetly not for the faint-hearted. If you're easily scared by a door squeeking or a window lashing then forget all about it.
This trilogy can truly cause you nightmares without end.Moreover, if you're the religious believer, be advised, this is nothing for you, even though references are just very loosely based on the Scriptures it still might cause you some problems.For all the others, go ahead, make the Devil's Day!"
Frances T. Nowve | Berkeley, CA United States | 11/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While it was silly to have another antichrist after Damian, this movie cannot be written off too lightly. There are scenes that convey the feeling of evil more powerfully than any of it's predecessors, reminding one of The Exorcist. I am referring especially to the scene where the detective is standing in front of a church where a chorus is singing Christmas carols. As he gazes at a Nativity scene, the figures suddenly become dark and scary looking while the infant Jesus looks like a dead burned baby (something like the baby of Damian's assistant in Omen III just before the baby's mother attacks his father with an iron). The chorus, meanwhile, turns into a creepy-looking chorus of gothed-out zombies singing some kind of satanic chant while one of them very slowly and deliberately turns the crucifix he is holding upside down. There is something very perverted and evil in this scene, far beyond special effects. I am one who is never scared at the movies. The only exception being The Exorcist. But this one scared me."
Great set, except for Omen 4
Dean M. McDuffie | Tempe, AZ United States | 06/14/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Omen trilogy (Omen 1, 2, and 3) is a great set of movies. Even though 3 is a little watered down, it still rounds out the story.Then the Omen 4 comes along. Yes I know it was a made for TV thing, but come on, this is crap.They should rename Omen 4 to "Upside Down Cross Movie + Rehashed Omen Stuff", because seriously, it was mainly about the makers of this movie trying to figure out how many times they can show an updside down cross (like it's all spooky and stuff). They were probably just sitting around and going "Hey, that stick over there kinda looks like an upside down cross... make the girl play with it and start shooting". Besides that all that was done was try to recreate old parts of the earlier Omen movies but with bad actors and without the subtlety that was one of the most important parts of the series. Also they try to add in this stupid mumbo jumbo New Age crystal rubbing aura crap that is just lame. The "satanic" choir of punk rockers also didn't do anything except make me laugh at the stupidity of it. This could have been a good movie, but they ruined it.Get the set for the first 3... it's worth it. But only watch the last if you're drunk or something."